2014: Advent Quality: The Specific Widget

by on December 4, 2014

First, the raw materials. We wish to make a nice of cup of tea. In order to appeal to the widest possible market, we have concluded that this should be a nice cup of English Breakfast tea, served with semi-skimmed cow’s milk and white granulated sugar.*

The tea leaves will be “English Breakfast – Widget Blend”, purchased from Reputable Supplier A, and the supplier guarantees this blend will meet the agreed specification of flavour, colour and strength.
The milk will be pasteurised homogenised semi-skimmed milk from British cows, purchased from approved suppliers. Currently approved suppliers are Reputable Suppliers B and C. Milk will have no less than ten days of refrigerated shelf life remaining upon delivery.

This goes on. Every raw material will have its own specification, and that specification will define everything relevant about the material – for the sugar, that might be the country of origin, the fairtrade status, the grain size, the level of purity, and the water content. Many of those characteristics will be required to fall within a range – percentage of sucrose greater than X, percentage of water lower than Y, grain size between Z and Z.45mm inclusive.

The equipment – the cups, the pots, the strainers, the kettle – will also have their specifications, but unless it’s disposable, the specifications will probably filed away somewhere for reference by auditors and when replacements are needed. The raw material specifications will be in regular use, as even if you’re performing minimal testing, you’ll at least compare what the supplier claims to have sent you with what you asked them to send.

*In order to increase our share of the market, we additionally intend to supply Earl Grey with lemon and an unsweetened version of our original English Breakfast product, which will have their own specifications and procedures.

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